The Oakland Raiders have their offensive coordinator and it is nowhere near as exciting as everyone thought it would be. When Jack Del Rio was hired, names like Marc Trestman, Adam Gase and Kyle Shanahan were floated as potential candidates. Instead, the Raiders ended up with Bill Musgrave.
Cue the awkward silence as Raiders fans look up who Bill Musgrave is.
Musgrave has been an offensive coordinator twice before, once with Del Rio and the Jacksonville Jaguars. That only lasted two years before he was fired. He then spent 2011-2013 with the Minnesota Vikings. Since then, he has been the quarterbacks coach in Philidelphia working under Chip Kelly and Pat Shurmur.
His coaching career, like his playing career (he started one game at quarterback and threw one touchdown pass in five seasons), has been remarkably bland. He’s the kind of guy who has spent most of his NFL career being distinctly not noticed. His offenses performed poorly in Jacksonville, but that was Jacksonville. He did OK in Minnesota, where Adrian Peterson carried the load in part because they didn’t have a very good quarterback.
But perhaps his best work has been as a quarterbacks coach rather than offensive coordinator, something that would be good news for second year quarterback Derek Carr. This past season, while in Philidelphia, Musgrave oversaw the “resurgence” of Mark Sanchez.
No, Sanchize did not revitalize his career to the point where he is considered a starter, but he did well enough to no longer be thought of as absolutely terrible. In nine games with the Eagles last season, Sanchez had one of his best seasons. Sanchez finished the year completing 64.1% of his passes — his previous best was 56.7%. He averaged 7.83 yards per pass play in 2014 (over a yard per pass better than his previous high), and his quarterback rating of 88.4 was a full ten points better than any of his prior seasons.
Those numbers aren’t great … but Sanchez was a much better player in Philly than he was in New York, and it’s not common for a quarterback to show that kind of improvement in year five. There’s an argument that the success Sanchez experienced was due to Chip Kelly more than Musgrave. Kelly is seen as one of the best offensive minds in the NFL and his unique offense can help make a quarterback look better than he is.
The Raiders surely hope Musgrave was integral in Sanchez’s improvement, and that he’s learned and grown as a coach in his year under Kelly. We’ll also get to see if Musgrave brings some of Kelly’s uptempo style to Oakland. After hiring a defensive head coach in Jack Del Rio, the offensive coordinator position became the most important hire. Musgrave is far from a home run — at least as far as name recognition — but one would think there has to be a reason why Del Rio is giving him another shot.